Subsea Expo Shines Spotlight on Cross-sector Opportunities

Submarine rescue system, Courtesy of Forum Energy Technologies

Greater collaboration between the offshore energy and defense sectors could open up lucrative opportunities for the underwater industry, according to the Global Underwater Hub.

2 Subsea Expo 22 24 February 2022 PandJ Live AberdeenThe organizers of Subsea Expo will be highlighting how advanced underwater technology could solve key challenges facing both sectors on the first day of the flagship event on 22nd of February at P&J Live.

Presentations from the Royal Navy, the UK Defense Solutions Centre (UKDSC), Scotland’s Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA), Neptune Energy, EODEX, and Babcock will provide delegates with an overview of the defense sector and how collaboration could be the key to unlocking multi-million contracts.

According to research from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2020, global defense spending reached the highest annual level since 1988 at $1.98 trillion1. This figure is expected to increase steadily in the coming decade.

Further analysis from the UK Defense Solutions Centre (UKDSC) indicated a total global maritime market worth almost $800billion to 2029. Of this total, the underwater market comprises submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles which, when combined, are forecast to be worth $287billion2.

Neil Gordon, chief executive of the GUH, said: “Defense science and technology spend is on the rise. The defense sector, which has an established track-record in adopting technologies to meet its needs in a range of underwater challenges, has a strong supply chain but recognizes the value in cross-sector capabilities. Of particular interest to the defense sector in-water marine operations and repair, through water communications, energy transition propulsion systems, underwater robotics, and autonomous operations – areas in which the offshore energy segment of the underwater industry excels.

“The focus on defense at Subsea Expo will identify specific opportunities for underwater companies and facilitate conversations which could pave the way for collaborative problem solving and multi-million-pound deals.”

The defense session at Subsea Expo will be chaired by Mark Richardson, vice president of projects at Neptune Energy, with the first presentations coming from Rear Admiral Paul Halton OBE, Royal Navy, director of submarine support, Submarine Delivery Agency, and William Powell, the head of strategic capability at the UKDSC, focusing on facilitating partnerships and cooperation between the UK Government and the private defense industry.

The session includes a presentation from Joshua Robertson and Ivan Stace from Babcock International, discussing the need to undertake extensive in-water engineering research and the potential areas of growth through collaboration within the underwater industry.

Debra Carr, innovation partner at DASA, will present the funding opportunities available for companies in the underwater sector to come up with innovative ideas that benefit the UK’s defense and national security. DASA has provided over £13 million in funding for 75 Scottish projects over the past five years.

Delegates will also hear from Andrew Woollven, managing director at EODEX, about the ways in which military solutions such as low order deflagration can be adapted for the commercial sector to mitigate the underwater unexploded ordnance threat. Deflagration is a proven solution which has been used in the military for nearly 20 years and offshore wind developers are increasingly interested in adopting it for commercial applications.

References

1 – SIPRI databases

2 – UKDSC Project Onyx Report, 2019

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